WPA photos: or, if Van Gogh had been a photographer

by Diana Dawson Plattner

From the Library of Congress: “Photographers working for the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.”

Second-hand plumbing store, Brockton, Mass., December 1940. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Headlines posted in street-corner window of newspaper office (Brockton Enterprise), Brockton, Mass. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Street corner, Brockton, Mass. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Connecticut town, probably Stonington, on the sea. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Barker at the grounds at the Vermont state fair, Rutland. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

"Backstage" at the "girlie" show at the Vermont state fair, Rutland. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Children gathering potatoes on a large farm, vicinity of Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, Oct. 1940. Schools do not open until the potatoes are harvested. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Bayou Bourbeau plantation, a Farm Security Administration cooperative, vicinity of Natchitoches, La. Three children sitting on the porch of a house. (Marion Post Wolcott, WPA / FSA)

A store with live fish for sale, vicinity of Natchitoches, La. (Marion Post Wolcott, WPA / FSA)

Southern U.S., Mississippi? (Marion Post Wolcott, WPA / FSA)

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains, Greene County, Ga. (Jack Delano, WPA / FSA)

Mountaineers and farmers trading mules and horses on "Jockey St.," near the Court House, Campton, Wolfe County, Ky. (Marion Post Wolcott, WPA / FSA)

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico. (Russell Lee, WPA / FSA)

Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family, Pie Town, New Mexico. (Russell Lee, WPA / FSA)

Link to the entire collection: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsac/